Blue Dragon Plus by Ignition - Review

I mentioned in my last post that a review of Blue Dragon Plus would be coming up, and it's about that time. Unfortunately, I got the game 2-3 days after I expected it to get here, so I took a little extra time to work through it some more.

The first thing I will say is this: It was not what I expected it to be. It was better, most definitely. I was expecting a cookie cutter RPG, sort of like Fire Emblem, fun, but overdone. Well, I was quite surprised when it turned out quite different. Read on for more. ^^

First off, I want to say that I like the packaging. I know it's insignificant, but I just have to mention that the simple, streamlined design is quite attractive.

Of course, the important part is the gameplay, which is actually real time. This isn't my first RTS, but it was pretty innovative in the way things were implemented. I started the game off with a tutorial stage, which was quite nice. Easy to understand and it taught me what I needed to know.

You could say that this is a very fast paced game. There are medals that you pick up automatically when one of your units simply walks over it, so no need to stop and "loot." Also, there are treasure chests in almost all stages. In order to pick these up you just have to click a unit, and click the chest. That unit will automatically go up to it and take the loot. Of course, you need to be careful that the unit doesn't get ambushed on the way to the chest. ^^

One of the things that bugged me a bit were some of the drawn out conversations. While they were rather informative, they were a bit long-winded at times, which seems to oppose the idea that this game is aimed toward children. Children = short attention span, thus, long conversations = bad. Of course, that's just a small complaint. I really loved that I got a healer relatively early on in the game, and she AoE heals at that! What game lets you have an AoE healer after the first few battles!? None that I know of, except this one. ^^

The graphics were pretty nice too, cut-scenes made use of both screens, and quality was the best you could expect a DS to handle. Pretty much the entire game is controlled using a stylus and your D-pad, so get used to using that stylus if you aren't already. I found it sort of a pain that I had to constantly touch the screen with a stylus in order for the text to speed up. I didn't want to skip it altogether, but it was far to slow, with no setting (that I know of) to speed it up.

Another pet peeve for me were the menus. They seemed to be made up of *too* many gradient like "buttons," most of which weren't really buttons. I had to figure out if there was more than one button on multiple menus. Definitely could have used a better layout.

Though most of the menus had a pretty bad design, there was one VERY cool redeeming feature, and that was detailed stats of the characters. Far too many RPGs and RTSs don't let you see detailed stats, but this game had it all, far too many to list, but really anything you would need in order to see each of the unit's strengths and weaknesses.

All of my complaints are quite minimal in importance though, because the game is very playable, and very fun. I'm definitely planning to finish it, just a little at a time due to time restraints. Overall, I would definitely recommend this game to any RPGers or RTSers who don't mind playing on a DS, as well as anyone interested in fast-paced game play. It keeps you on your toes, thinking about what to do in split second timing. At the very least, it's good for your brain. ^^

Lastly, just for your edification, there has been an anime made for the Blue Dragon series, 2 seasons in fact. Supposedly part of the first season aired on Cartoon Network, but got canceled soon thereafter. There was also a manga made for the series which ran for 4 volumes. Interestingly, the art for the manga was done by Takeshi Obata, who, as some of you may recall, was the artist for Death Note, Bakuman, and Hikaru no Go.

For anyone interested, I suggest if you want to buy Blue Dragon Plus.

Thanks to RocketXL for allowing me to review Blue Dragon Plus, I'm willing to review any other DS, Wii, or computer games that will be coming out. ^^

(Read the rest of this post here.)

Blue Dragon Plus

Hello all, wanted to let you know about an upcoming review post. I was contacted and asked to do a review of an upcoming Nintendo DS game called Blue Dragon Plus. They gave me some links to media, and I will be getting a copy of the game and reviewing in a day or two hopefully.

So, here is a little widget that they prepared for the release of the game, as well as a pretty interesting cinematic trailer.

(Read the rest of this post here.)

Kanu Unchou Maid Ver. - By GoodSmile

Hello all! I know it's been a LONG time since the past post, which was my first music post, but I swear I have a good excuse! Actually, I have a few. After classes ended last semester I was planning to make more posts here, but little did I know that I had less than a couple of weeks worth of vacation, and life off the internet took priority there. Christmas time came, and I got the new Nikon D40 that I asked for, so I have been doing a little experimenting with it, trying to get used to it. It's rather difficult for someone who has never used an SLR before, digital or not. Anyway, down to business. I recently purchased the maid version Kanu Unchou off of a member, drakanity, so I thought I would go ahead and do my first formal figure review on her, especially since I have a DSLR to take some nice pics with now. ^^

This Kanu figure isn't a brand new release or anything, but she is quite lovely. She's listed as a "Wani Books" figure, but she was actually sculpted by Good Smile Company, and I have as of yet to be disappointed with Good Smile.

Her skirt is castoff-able (pics at the end of the article ^^), but it's too bad that her top isn't. :p

I read multiple reviews on her before I decided to purchase, something I suggest everyone do before making a figure purchase, even if they are sure that they will like the figure. One review I read mentioned her boots, which happen to be somewhat of a vibrant, semi-dark color blue, which, of course, does not seem to match her outfit at all. This would be the only complaint I have -- as they look more fitting of Ryomou than Kanu, but it's most definitely not that significant of an error in my mind.

I love her maid outfit, it gives her sort of a more girlish, cute look, while retaining her strength and elegance.

In quite a few of these pictures you can see the way Good Smile sculpted her hair, which is quite amazing. Very detailed, lots of work went into her hair, and the entire figure at that.

If anyone were considering buying this figure, I would wholeheartedly recommend it. It's an excellent sculpt, paint job, and general figure design. Definitely worth the money.

Also, not much, but at least a little yoko-pai (side of the "eyes," if you do not know what I mean by "eyes" then you may want to visit and do a little research) is exposed, always nice to see. ^^

Also, these are the first pictures I have watermarked. I'm not very experienced when it comes to digital photography, whether it be actually taking pictures, or working with them in a photo editor, but I tried my best to make a good looking watermark. I ended up watermarking each photo by hand, individually, for two reasons. One, I don't have a batch watermarker (anyone know of any for windows? ^^.) Two, I had finally found a good looking design/color combo for my watermark text, but it didn't contrast enough with the white snow, so I had to tweak certain images by hand to get the contrast right.

Well, I'll stop babbling on and finish this article off with the remainder of the photos. Any and all feedback on my photo taking/editing skills is welcome, as I am trying to improve however I can. Also, just a little heads up. Here start the cast off photos, not too risque though, so shouldn't matter for most. ^^

I had promised more music posts previously, and they most definitely will be coming. For now, posts will be unpredictable, just as my current school schedule is. x.x Also, I am taking a web design class, and my final project is supposed to be a custom designed web page. As such, I am thinking of using that project as an opportunity to improve this blog. I might end up overhauling the entire design of this site, and hosting it on my own in the (somewhat) near future.

I know I don't have very many readers, but what would you like to see on this site?

(Read the rest of this post here.)

Update and J-Music

Above is "Last Song", a nice slower song from my favorite Japanese artist, Gackt.

Hello all, I know it's been quite a long time since my last update; I've been very busy with school. I've been doing English 1A, History 17, PHP programming, and an Internet class. This post is actually, in part, for the internet class, as part of what the instructor wants the class to do. My semester will be ending relatively soon, so I will most definitely take advantage of that and post quite a bit more.

Anyway, this post, along with another few posts will cover J-Music (J-Music stands for "Japanese-Music" for those of you who might not know). They will also, all have youtube video links. It will be a little bit each day since I don't have the time to sit down and compile large posts just yet. I hope these posts can expose J-Music to Western culture a bit more, maybe help break down some of the ideas that people hold about Japan, for instance, the idea that Japan is entirely traditional and doesn't have modern music and styles. I've heard that one out of many people before. ^^;

First, I'll start off with some J-Rock. There are many artists that are known quite well in America already, but there are many more which have almost no fan basis in America. I'll include a bit of both.

Another moderately slow song from Gackt, who, while being classified as mainly J-Rock, kind of isn't. He has rockish sounding songs, but many of his songs are actually slower. Another interesting thing to note, J-Rock could be metal, screamo, slower rock, just about anything that falls under rock, and is by a Japanese band. As such, some harder rock will be coming after Gackt. ^^

"Rain" by Gackt.

By the way, I've been trying to take some good figure photos for reviews, but I just can't seem to get good ones with a point and shoot camera, so I'll hopefully be getting a DSLR soon. *Crosses fingers for Christmas* xD

This is the last one I'll post from Gackt, and is also a faster song, more of what you might expect to hear when you think of "J-Rock". For those who may be interested, there are many sources of information about Japanese artists on the internet (along with artists of every other nationality), so I will post a link to some wikipedia information for each of them.

"Returner (Yami no Shuuen)" by Gackt.

Now for some harder rock. It might be a good idea for me to tell you all a bit about "Visual Kei" (lit. Visual Style in english.) Some people like this style, other hate it, but quite a lot of the harder J-Rock comes from bands that are Visual Kei (which can also be shortened to "Visu", something that I will be doing from now on.) One of the things that many people hate about Visu is the fact that many of the members in different bands look at least slightly androgynous. If people don't like this then that's fine, but there is no reason to judge how good a band is based upon their looks, even though Visu is based upon looks. xD

Here is a couple of videos from what is probably one of the most well known Visu bands, especially in America, Dir en Grey. They have had many different looks and styles of music over the years, but that helps to make them quite a versatile band.

Let me warn you now, Dir en grey does have screamo sounding songs, and some of the videos I link may not be entirely appropriate for younger audiences. :p

"Saku" by Dir en grey

Die en grey is actually a band that's been around for a while, they has their classic Visu days:

"Akuro no Oka" by Dir en grey

And, finally, my favorite song and music video by Dir en grey. This video is, to say the least, very crazy, most definitely not appropriate in many workplaces, and may be hated by many people. But I love it. ^^

"Obscure" by Dir an grey

Two or three more artists left for this post. Next will be a group called Maximum the Hormone, definitely among my favorites.

This first song is the second opening song for the anime "Death Note".

What's Up People! by Maximum the Hormone.

One of my favorite songs.

"Koi no Mega Lover" by Maximum the Hormone

I'll just post one up from this next band, the GazettE. I am only going to post one up for two reasons, one, it's their best song, and two, it's the only song of theirs that immediately comes to mind as one of my favorites. Not that their other songs are no good, they actually have many good songs, but none are nearly as good as this one, at least in my opinion.

Since I'm now running a bit short on time, this will be the last band for this post, more to come later. UVERworld, a band that might be known in America due to the use of one fo their songs in the anime "Bleach". That song is this next one.

"D-Technolife" by UVERworld.

UVERworld is a bit more of a softer rock band, not so metal sounding, but I love all types of music, hopefully everyone else might take this sort of point of view too. ^^

"Chance!" by UVERworld.

Last song of this post, it's a moderately slower song by UVERworld, nice to listen to. :p

"Kimi no Suki na uta" by UVERworld.

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed this post, and maybe became interested in some new bands, there are many more to come, and my posts will never be meant to be comprehensive, as there are so very many different bands out there.

(Read the rest of this post here.)